Patrice’s Baumel has already had an amazing 2017, which has seen him remix the likes of Sasha and Depeche Mode and score a Beatport top 10 with ‘Glutes’ on Afterlife. We took 10 mins out with busy Dutchman whose weekend summer diary is booked out with gigs all over the world and found out how he’s coping.
G’day Patrice! Hope you’re well? Can you tell us where in the world you are at the moment and what you’ve been up to recently?
Patrice Baumel: We are in between weekends, so that’s family and studio time for me and I am at home in Amsterdam, preparing for the gigs ahead, writing new music and doing exciting things like taxes and getting my car fixed. I try to balance work and play as good as I can and intersperse long studio hours with walking the dog and working out a little.
Given the absolute wealth of releases in the past 12 months (including remixes for Sasha, Depeche Mode, Cubicolor, Max Cooper, Michael Mayer, as well as your own productions ‘Surge’ and your new monster ‘Glutes’ on Afterlife Records), it might feel to some like your rise to popularity has been quite recent; but you’ve been DJing since 1994 and producing for 15 years? What was the real break-through point in your career recently or what do you attribute this new-found attention and success?
Patrice Baumel: I am a typical overnight success 20 years in the making. I am glad those long, often fruitless hours in the studio or gigging in bars and small clubs are finally paying off. What really opened doors for me was a change in focus around 2013. That was when I decided to focus on making bangers, records that slay a dance floor, proper peaktime material. It is a good market niche since there are surprisingly few of these records out there and almost every dj loves playing them at some point of the night. It didn’t take long before I got signed by Kompakt in 2014. Since then my career has been in a steady incline. I also got rid of some of the vices that were holding me back. I have stopped doing drugs and drinking alcohol altogether, which helped me lift my game on many levels. Touring has become fairly easy without hangovers and mood swings. I think I have finally become a proper professional.
Let’s take a moment to talk about that Depeche Mode remix. Be honest, how scared were you tackling such a task? Was there much interaction between yourself and the band or these days is it all done over emails and management?
Patrice Baumel: I was not scared in the slightest, I had nothing to lose and a lot to gain. I was already on a production roll and felt super confident I could deliver a good mix for my all-time favourite band. I wish I could say that Martin Gore called me personally and invited me to hang out, but in reality there was zero contact with the band. My management talked to their management and that was it. But who knows, maybe in the future our paths will cross after all.
Given your free-form style of production, I can imagine there’s a lot of music that gets left on the hard drive. Do you find yourself going back to it after a period of time?
Patrice Baumel: Especially in moments when I am out of inspiration, I go back to my vault of unfinished productions and dig for leftovers. I combine old elements with new ones and sometimes that helps me finish a new track or remix.
Listening to your recent Balance CD as well as a range of live sets it became clear that you like to create a real emotional experience. Does that emotion depend on how you’re feeling on the night? Have you ever found it difficult to make an emotional connection with audience?
Patrice Baumel: Making connection with the audience is at the heart of what I do. Music is merely a language or tool to establish that connection. I use a fairly broad arsenal of sounds to engage with the crowd – sometimes through very emotional sounds, sometimes through sheer force of some bad ass techno. The success of establishing that connection depends on many factors. I love playing really close to the crowd, ideally I want to be able to fistbump and high-five people on the dance floor and create good eye contact. Whenever the setup does not allow any of these things I find it harder to connect and play well – a good party is always a feedback loop of energy going back and forth between crowd and artists.
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to play before you at the 20th Anniversary of Rainbow Serpent Festival near Melbourne. Spiritually, how did it match up to some of the other festivals you’ve played at over the years?
Patrice Baumel: Rainbow Serpent is right at the top of my festival ranking worldwide. Not only is the sound the best I have heard anywhere, the connection between people feels amazing and very pure. The atmosphere absolutely blows my mind. The festival is right at the heart of the psychedelic revolution that is going on in many places at the moment.
Would it be fair to say that you’re not afraid to play ‘obvious’ or ‘big records’? (Cut Copy’s ‘Hearts on Fire’ at Rainbow was an absolute treat!) In an age of Shazam, Soundcloud, Be-At.tv and a DJ’s constant need to play music that no one has ever heard before, what drives those decisions in the moment to reach for that type of record?
Patrice Baumel: A big record played at the right moment unites a dancefloor like nothing else. It provides a reference known by all. I am long past the point where I care about political correctness, I just want everybody to have a ton of fun. By mixing the obvious with the outlandish, I can still somehow balance it out.
Finally, can you let us know what things are in the pipeline/what you’re looking forward to?
Patrice Baumel: Next up are singles for Kompakt and Crosstown Rebel as well as touring on all continents in the coming months.